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New Zealand bat first, Trent Boult and Ajaz Patel included

TossNew Zealand chose bat vs England

Kane Williamson called correctly and chose to bat on the first test surface of the English summer, with New Zealand boosted by the inclusion of Trent Boult after his late sprint of the IPL. They also selected the spinner, Ajaz Patel, for Neil Wagner and Matt Henry.
England had previously designated their starting team for the first test of the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum era. Stokes admitted he would have chosen to bat too, although there was a hint of cloud cover half an hour from the start of what is expected to be a hot day in north London.
With England asked to bowl, James Anderson and Stuart Broad will reunite during the morning session for the first time since the Ashes winter. Matthew Potts will also be in action as he favored a debut as third sailor for Craig Overton. Potts was handed his cap before the toss by fellow Durham fast bowler Steve Harmison.

Ollie Pope will hit number 3 for the first time in red ball cricket, while Jonny Bairstow will move to number 5 meaning there is no room for the reserve batter in the squad, Harry Brook. “It’s been a good few days leading up to the test,” Stokes said, “everyone is very excited to get started.”

England will also wear black armbands in tribute to Graham Thorpe, the former England batter and coach who was hospitalized last month.

Doubts over New Zealand’s roster largely boiled down to whether Boult would be fit to play alongside his longtime new ball partner Tim Southee, who had only arrived in the UK on Monday. Patel’s selection was driven by the expectation of a drier, more batter-friendly surface.

With Henry Nicholls ruled out as he continues to recover from a calf injury, New Zealand has shuffled their batting order. Devon Conway hits No. 4 – after scoring a double hundred last year as an opener on his debut with Lord’s this time – while Daryl Mitchell comes in at No. 5. Williamson is playing his first Test since November after struggling with an elbow problem. “It’s been a while so it’s great to be on the side again,” he said.

England: 1 Alex Lees, 2 Zak Crawley, 3 Ollie Pope, 4 Joe Root, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Ben Stokes (capt), 7 Ben Foakes (wk), 8 Matthew Potts, 9 Jack Leach, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson

New Zealand: 1 Tom Latham, 2 Will Young, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Devon Conway, 5 Daryl Mitchell, 6 Tom Blundell (wk), 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Kyle Jamieson, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Ajaz Patel, 11 Trent Boult

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